Smith PivLock V2Max ($239, Smithoptics.com)
These are another pair of sunnies that are derived from their smaller brethren. Larger than the PivLock V2, the V2 Max add more lens for rider protection and better vision. Smith’s approach to clear vision is to do away with the frame altogether. This leaves a clear view, both under and over the sunglasses. The V2 Max nose bridge is easily adjusted in three positions from narrow to wide to find the perfect fit for you. Just press the nose piece in or out and you’ll hear the piece click into place. They also come with three sets of lenses, a blue mirror, clear and photochromic ignitor. The blue mirror is the choice for bright days. If your ride will have changing light conditions use the photochromic ignitor and they will darken or lighten as needed. The clear is good for riding at night, but why are you riding at night? With the PivLocks you don’t switch the lenses as much as you switch the ear pieces. Pivot each earpiece up (hence the name) until they gently pop out of the lens then pivot them onto the lens you need for the day. It’s an elegant and simple design. All lenses have a hydrophobic coating that helps sweat and water bead off the lens.
I’ve worn the standard V2 and never thought I needed more lens height. After trying the Max I realized that it does help greatly. The extra coverage gives you more lens to view through and it’s especially helpful when time trailing. The more aggressive position you ride, the greater advantage you’ll get from the design. Additionally, these fit very close to the head so no light leaks through. Having three positions to adjust the nose piece and be able to change it in a few seconds is a huge bonus. The widest position was too wide for me, but the middle position worked perfectly for me in most conditions, while the narrow position was useful for time trailing. The ear stems are quite flexible, flat and fit well under a helmet. The Evolve frame material feels is a good mix of lightweight and flexible but still secure. Even with my head down during a time trial these stayed in place. No matter how much I sweat I didn’t have to push them up.
The blue mirror lens does a great job protecting your eyes from the sun and wind. Even in the sunniest conditions, these kept the light out of my eyes. I was also impressed with the photochromic lens option, which adjusts to the level of light. I often commute to work a leave the house before the sun is fully up but as I ride it gets brighter and brighter. Using the photochromic lens meant I could see well no matter what the light conditions. Like most photochromic lenses I’ve tried, I did find that it didn’t get quite dark enough for me when the sun was brightest. Still, it’s an nice option to have should you need it. I didn’t have a chance to try the clear lens as I don’t ride in the dark. The hydrophobic coating was decent at moving water and sweat off the lens, but I still ended up with some streaks across them. The PivLock system is quick and easy to use. Pivoting the arms up they smoothly pop from the frame. You don’t have to muscle it and there’s no concern of snapping the arm as the pressure needed is pretty light.
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